HONOURING KWAME NKRUMAH FOR ACHIEVEMENTS
- IS ENOUGH NOT ENOUGH?
n putting this write-up for the week, l am aware of the implications. First, it puts me into a questionable situation whether l am thing straight or just imagining things because it seems preposterous for anyone to raise such a highly sensitive issue. More or less, l am treading on a dangerous ground.
Secondly, it casts doubt on the fairness of the moral action taken by our authorities to single one player out of the nation’s leadership team for recognition and honour and leave some of them in the shade. Is it fitting and proper to do so, considering the invaluable contributions of each one of them to the country?
Thirdly, by its sensitive nature, it is most likely to cause public opprobrium, that is, stir intense feelings of anger ad resentment among many people, particularly the die-hard Nkrumaist intellectual cadre who are agitating for heaps of honour to be bestowed on Kwame Nkrumah over his compatriots who also rendered meritorious services to the country.
The agitation is coming up in the wake of the celebration of his centenary and one year (101) birthday that fell on Tuesday, September 21, 2010. This date has been declared as National Founder’s Day and Public Holiday.
I must say that, beneath the agitation, there is the need for sober reflections and one poignant fact should be appreciated. Despite his ability to lead the country to attain independence, Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a military coup d’état while on a trip to Hanoi in North Vietnam.
This incident implies that there was a weakness in his security service, being unable to discover and foil the plot to overthrow him. And when it did happen, the forces could not scheme to suppress the attack.
Basically, there was something wrong and objectionable with Kwame Nkrumah’s style of administration like the imposition of one party rule on the country stifling democracy; the enactment of the Preventive Detention Act under which suspects of subversive activities were hurled into jail; and the rampant dismissal of public officials for accusations leveled against them.
It is significant to note that or six years after his overthrow, Kwame Nkrumah stayed in exile until his death in far away Romania on April 27, 1972.
He could have been buried in that foreign land but for the sympathy shown by the Acheampong government his body was brought back to Ghana and laid to rest at his home town, Nkroful, on July 7 1972. Indeed, for a military regime to display this singular act of grief and grace towards a dethroned and defamed leader is highly commendable.
In this regard, successive governments have given Kwame Nkrumah a pride of place in Ghana’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his remarkable achievements in the struggle for independence and the socio-economic development of the country.
The sting of monuments accorded him include the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park, Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Kwame Nkrumah Statue erected at the campus.
Others are Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Celebrations, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures at the Cape Coast University Kwame Nkrumah Chair of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, as well as the National Founder’s Day and Public Holiday marked in his honour.
Recently, the Bank of Ghana introduced the GH¢2.00 currency note portraying the portrait of Kwame Nkrumah in replacement of the old one which bore his effigy but were withdrawn after he was deposed from political power.
With all these, the Nkrumaist adherents are clamouring for additional honours. More specifically, they are demanding the establishment of Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Fund to support the education of brilliant but needy students; re-naming of the Kotoka International Airport after Kwame Nkrumah and institution of honours by the various organizations stabled under Kwame Nkrumah’s administration. It is a typical case of the proverbial Oliver Twist asking for more!
This action is absolutely unfair to the many patriotic citizens who have made vital contributions to the country in one way or the other. Some of them have been given a paltry recognition, while others have got nothing at all. A quick look around shows it all.
For her bravery in the was against the British troops invasion of Kumasi, Yaa Asantewa, the Amazon, has only a female secondary school to her memory. Similarly for the famous indigenous scholar and educationist, Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey with Aggrey Memorial Secondary School at Cape Coast.
The great farmer, Tetteh-Quarshie, who brought cocoa seeds from the Island of Fernado Po to grow and produce which has become the major foreign exchange earner for the country is remembered by a district hospital at Mampong, Akuapem and a round-about in Accra.
As part of the agitation for freedom. There was a boycott of European goods in the country that culminated in the shooting incident at the Christiansburg Castle crossroads in which ex-servicemen lost their lives. A cenotaph has been erected in their memory.
Of the freedom fighters dubbed the “BIG Six,” J. B. Danquah and E. Obetsebi-Lamptey are honoured with roundabouts in Accra. Ako Adjei has an interchange and decrepit football part at Osu to his memory Both William Ofori-Atta (Paa Willie) and Edward Akufo-Addo have monument to identify and recognize them.
In the same way, the profligate timber merchant, Paa George Grant, who was the chairman and financier of the first political party, namely the united Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), that initiated the struggle for Ghana’s independence has been denied a place in the hall of fame – no monument to show for his vital contributions.
Among the staunch compatriots of Kwame Nkrumah in the turbulent days of the CPP and its aftermath of independence, were stalwart leaders like Kojo Botsio, K. a. Gbedemah, Archie Casley-Hayford, Kwasi Plange, Kofi Baako, N. A. Welbeck, a. E. Inkumsah, Pobee Biney, Anthony Kobinah Woode and many more. None of these has monument to his memory.
In the international arena, Alex Quaison–Sackey emerged as the first black President of the United Nations General Assembly. Robert Gardiner distinguished himself as Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, while E.O. Asafu-Adjaye excelled as Ghana’s High Commissioner to Britain and was knighted by the Queen. Yet there are no honours for them.
As the saying goes, “ a nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for.” In the case of Kwame Nkrumah, he had had a fair share of the national honours. The monuments and related activities organized to celebrate him are well befitting.
The pertinent questions are: what more again for him? Should everything in Ghana be named after him? Is enough not enough? Let us not prostitute and devalue his worthy name in our over zealous desire to accord him with honours. It will turn out to be ridiculous, spiteful and embarrassing. The adage that “too much of everything is bad” says it all.
Ghanaian Times Page:8 Wednesday, September 29, 2010